I was once asked by my Philosophy teacher what I wanted to be -- a very simple question that entails a very simple answer. I stood up from my desk and said, looking straight into his eyes, “I want to be rich and famous.”
It took him a few seconds to respond and he gave me an inscrutable long look. On the background, I heard murmurs from my classmates; and when I looked around, I met some pairs of equally inscrutable eyes. I really didn’t know how that simple and totally honest answer can cause such a fuss. Perhaps, it’s because he wasn’t expecting that kind of answer after the previous ones’ answers were same old, boring, and, nothing else, but all answers that can only be borne out from Boringsville.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, my teacher seemed to have awakened and immediately realized he is in the middle of a class. “Well, that’s for Ms. Nocete. Rich and famous (he was looking contemplative while saying this). Anyway…” And he continued his discussion on ambitions and getting there and many other things that all seemed like a blur to me. I could see his lips moving, but I could not hear a word he’s saying. All I was thinking then was how I sounded. I recalled the looks I got after having uttered the words, but I couldn’t seem to decipher the mystery behind those.
I attended a retreat organized by the nuns I worked for when I was still in college. One of the things we were asked to do was to draw our plans and ambitions on a piece of paper, and write down at the back of it how we plan to achieve them. I can still recall how excited I was to tell the people around me what my dreams are. However, after seeing what the others have drawn and written, I felt like such an overly-ambitious freak. Their dreams and ambitions were all so simple and small-scale (i.e. have a job, a family, a small house), I felt like snapping at them and telling them how easy it is to get a husband, make kids and build a nipa hut in the woods. And like my Philosophy teacher, the nun gave me that look I so hate to ever see again. She even managed to lecture on how frustrations over unachieved dreams can make us do crazy things, which, thanks to her, made me look even more pathetic.
Okay, I admit I am ambitious, but come on, what is the point of dreaming anyway? Don’t normal people dream of things they can’t easily get? Is it just me who knows how to do it properly?
Setting goals high can actually help one in the end. That is, for as long as he knows how to manage failures and defeat, as these two, as I have read and learned, always come first. And yep, I have long prepared myself for them.
So, if you ask me now what my dreams are, I will answer you with the same thing. To be rich and famous. Yep, I’m sticking to it!